Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, He graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.Ephesians 3:8
As some verses read, I am the least of the saints. Well that is self deprecating. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says he is the least of the apostles. Well that’s not too bad, 13th on the list. Although one disqualified himself and so Paul would have moved up in ranking. In the verse in focus today Paul refers to himself as the least of the saints . While in 1 Tim 1:15 he regards himself as the greatest of sinners.
Let me remind you of what I said when connecting this verse to the others in Gem 476. (Read the full gem to get the context.)
“These verses are in the chronological order in which Paul wrote them. Notice the direction, the pattern involved here.
- Least of the apostles
- Least of the saints
- Worst of sinners
Wow “least out of the twelve”, that’s not bad. Oh come on Paul, “least of the saints”, least of the people of God, I don’t think so. You are right up the top. Worst of sinners – ouch, that’s a bit heavy. If you are the worst of sinners, Paul, where does that leave me? The older and wiser Paul got, the clearer he saw himself and his flesh.
That is the direction of Paul’s view of himself. It mirrors John’s statement
He must increase, but I must decrease.John 3:30
Having a sane, realistic view of himself enables Paul to then say,
Whatever I am now is because of God’s favour poured out on me. Because of that I work harder than any one else but it is not me doing the work it is Him doing the work in me.1 Corinthians 15:10
Now that is a principle to take to heart and practise.
- Which direction are you moving in?
- Are you increasing or decreasing?
- Is He is increasing or decreasing?
Paul really means it when he said in Romans 12,
Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.Romans 12:3
The further Paul progresses in Christlikeness the less his view of himself and especially his flesh. His comments and his view of himself are set in context when we read what Paul writes in Phil 3:4-9. Paul now considers all the things he may have once boasted about to now be compared with dung. Not worth anything by comparison. It is not worth talking about let alone boasting about. That is having a healthy biblical perspective of yourself.
Greatness Becomes Yours The Moment You Become Small In Your Own Eyes.Robb Thompson
If you think being meek is weak then trying being meek for a week.Ian Vail
For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think.Romans 12:3